on July 12, 2010
Well, we all know the band. Korn rose to mainstream prominence in the mid 90's with a string of extremely unique and aggressive records, and have since solidified themelves as one of the most influential hard rock acts of the past 20 years. These early releases were full of crunchy riffs and irresistibly funky grooves. Moving into the new millenium, we saw Korn's popularity diminish with the nu-metal trend; mind you, their most recent albums hit closer to an alternative rock sound than to the nu-metal sounds of the 90's, achieving varying levels of success.
So, when Korn announced that they were hopping on the current bandwagon of bands returning to their roots, I think a lot of people were sceptical. I mean, could a nu-metal band actually succeed in releasing something musically relevant in 2010? Furthermore, could Korn recapture the passion that made their early records notable?
Fortunately, the answer to both those questions turns out to be a solid, but not resounding, "yes". This record picks up right where 1999's "Issues" left off; the heavy sampling and Protools use found on the newer albums are both gone. In their place, Korn has laid down some seriously organic sounding instrumentation. Whether it be the heavy guitar groove of "Pop A Pill" or the forceful basslines found in otherwise minimalistic tracks like "Lead The Parade", I guarantee that you will be able to find something on this effort that prompts comparisons to the band's early records.
Also, I really have to applaud vocalist Jonathan Davis' performance here in particular. He captures emotions like pure anger or manic depression just as well as he or any other vocalist did in the 90's, which is very impressive; Davis' peers, such as Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor, haven't shown this much gusto since their early recordings.
I really cannot stress enough how well Korn recaptured the spark of their early albums on the new record. While the songs here may not be as original or unique as they would've been a decade ago, the fact that these wealthy guys can still muster up some real passion is astounding, especially in a genre that really relies on this passion to make up for technical or melodic shortcomings. Really, if you never liked Korn before, there is little here that will change your opinion, but if, like me, you really latched onto Korn's early, aggressive products, "Remember Who You Are" can quite possibly turn out to be a hidden gem for you when we didn't think these guys had it left in them.
RECOMMENDED FOR: fans of Korn's early material, fans of funk-based, heavy music like Rage Against the Machine, fans of frustrated, angry music like Slipknot's debut or Disturbed's debut